10 Updates

What Are The Future Of Nation States? -- Better Ask Facebook

May 9 2014, 2:06pm CDT | by

What happens when Facebook decides it wants to issue passports? This is no idle question. Right now, Facebook has well over a billion members, making it the third largest country in the world. So...

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11 weeks ago

What Are The Future Of Nation States? -- Better Ask Facebook

May 9 2014, 2:06pm CDT | by

What happens when Facebook decides it wants to issue passports?

This is no idle question. Right now, Facebook has well over a billion members, making it the third largest country in the world. So the larger issue at hand is does one’s online social identity trump one’s real world patriotic identity?

Perhaps not yet—but sooner or later it will.

If you plumb the literature, most researchers feel nation states exist for four major reasons: guns, money, land, and tribe. Let’s take a quick look at each.

Guns—this one’s obvious: Nation states control the armies, the weapons, etc. But not like they used to. We can now 3D print everything from handguns to automatic weapons to rocket launchers, with the blueprints and how-to tutorials available online, for anyone, for free. Of course, the standard counter here is what about WMDs—after all you can’t 3D print a nuke—but with the radical advances being made in synthetic biology, the ability for the average person to create a biological WMD are growing exponentially . So no, when it comes to who controls the weapons, well, nation states have lost their competitive edge.

Money—Nation states control currency, but maybe not for long. For one, bitcoin is trying to change all of that. Even if they don’t succeed, you got to believe that sooner or later someone will. Remember, the idea of a centralized, standardized currency is only a few centuries old and is much more a living experiment than a trustworthy tradition. In other words, when it comes to centralized currencies, we have no idea what they’re normal lifespan is… but considering that for almost 10,000 years local currencies were the rule, the idea that we may eventually re-fracture our financial system doesn’t seem so peculiar.

Land—This is the big one. But, again, not for long. In a recent blog, I probed the question of what happens when virtual reality becomes more fun and more meaningful than actual reality. This weird singularity is coming at us far faster than most expect and remember, it was Facebook who purchased Occulus Rift and is now leading this charge . In other words, however strong our online social identity feels today, they’re only going to continue to grow stronger. As this next century unfolds, as life moves more and more into the virtual, the value of “the land” and, more importantly, the way “the land” shapes our identity and allegiances will continue to shift.

Tribe—One only has to survey ethnic conflicts in Eastern Europe and the Middle East to realize that we’re still as tribal as we’ve ever been. And we have a great many nation states organized along exactly these kind of ethnic lines. And even more organized along religious lines. But the question remains, how long will this bounded sense of identity hold. Right now, Google and Facebook are in an arms race, with plans to spend billions to launch drones, balloons and satellites capable of providing free or ultra-low cost internet access to every human on Earth. This means, over the next few years, more and more people will be coming online and doing what people everywhere do online—finding groups of like-minded folk and hanging out with them. But these like minded folk will come from all over, breaching borders and building bridges and again, how long until these virtual tribes trump actual tribes?

So if the four pillars that have historically propped up nation states are starting to crumble, how much longer will the institution itself survive?

*Check out Steven’s latest book, The Rise of Superman.

 
Update
10

7 weeks ago

RM47mil KWSG contributions still unclaimed

Jun 9 2014 7:54am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: About RM47 million of contributions in the Teachers Provident Fund (KWSG) still remain unclaimed, the Dewan Rakyat was ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
9

7 weeks ago

Gold shop lost almost RM1mil

Jun 9 2014 3:50am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KANGAR: A gold shop owner lost almost RM1 million after after the safe on in his shop was broken ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
8

7 weeks ago

Motion to debate MAS losses in Dewan Rakyat rejected

Jun 9 2014 3:39am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: AN emergency motion to debate the losses incurred by Malaysia Airlines last year, amounting to RM1.2 billion was rejected by the Dewan Rakyat toda ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
7

7 weeks ago

MH370 Tragedy: Hisham: RM27.6 mil spent on 1st phase of SAR

Jun 9 2014 2:11am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia spent some RM27.6 million in its first phase of the search operations for missing Malaysia Airline flight MH370, said Acting Transport Minister, Datuk ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
6

7 weeks ago

9.1m litres of diesel seized in a month

Jun 8 2014 1:11am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

PUTRAJAYA: The Domestic Trade, Cooperatives, and Consumerism ministry has seized some 9.1 million litres of diesel and property worth RM58 million since mounting ‘Operasi Diesel Selatan’ in ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
5

7 weeks ago

Girl, 9, awarded RM2.78m compensation for medical negligence

Jun 6 2014 4:56am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: A nine-year-old girl who suffered brain damage during her birth at a government hospital was awarded over RM2.78 million in ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
4

7 weeks ago

Malaysia's total trade in April up 12pc

Jun 5 2014 11:52pm CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's total trade in April 2014 rose by 12 per cent from a year ago to RM123.86 billion due to growing trading activities, International Trade and Industry Minister Da ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
3

7 weeks ago

Works Ministry to spend RM20m for upgrading works at 50 accident black spots

Jun 4 2014 11:35pm CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

JOHOR BARU: The Works Ministry will implement upgrading works at 50 accident prone locations in the country that have been identified this year involving an allocation of RM20 mi ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
2

7 weeks ago

Najib launches loan scheme for Ramadan traders

Jun 4 2014 10:24pm CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

PUTRAJAYA: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak today launches RM45 million Ramadan Bazaar Sc ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
1

7 weeks ago

Residents bring up objection against Kidex to Suhakam

Jun 4 2014 4:49am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

PETALING JAYA: A group of 20 Petaling Jaya residents held a meeting with the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) over their objection against the proposed RM2.2 billion Kinrara Damansara ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 

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